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Cuomo proposes reduction of hunting and fishing license fees

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A proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to reduce the price of hunting and fishing licenses and ease the process of obtaining them has the potential to bring more tourists to the north country.

“Making sporting licenses affordable will generate tourism, which will also economically help hotels, campgrounds, gas stations and grocery stores,” Kathleen A. Bouchard, Ogdensburg city clerk, said in an email.

The governor’s proposals, which he included in his amended executive budget, have been passed on to the Legislature. The budget is due April 1.

Specifically Mr. Cuomo proposed reducing the cost of annual fishing licenses from $29 to $25, annual hunting licenses from $29 to $22 and cutting the annual muzzle loader license nearly in half, from $21 to $11.

The governor wants to enable out-of-state residents to enjoy the state’s recreational activities at a reduced price in an effort to draw more tourists.

Annual fishing licenses for out-of-state residents would drop from $70 to $50. Annual hunting licenses would be reduced from $140 to $100. Annual bow hunting costs would decrease from $140 to $40, and daily fishing and turkey hunting licenses would also be reduced.

“The state scheme for hunting and fishing licenses was overly complex, burdensome and somewhat bizarre,” Mr. Cuomo said in a press conference Wednesday announcing the proposal.

Randy R. Yager, owner of Guided Bass Trips, a bass fishing guide operating on Black Lake, the St. Lawrence River and in central Florida, said the reductions in the price will help his customers, most of whom are tourists.

Mr. Yager said while most of his clients fishing in the north country purchase daily fishing licenses, people in neighboring states will often purchase annual licenses.

“The drop from $70 to $50 is the big one,” Mr. Yager said.

Fishing licenses will also be put on a new schedule if the governor’s proposals are approved.

Currently fishing licenses are only valid from the time they are purchased until the end of the season. Mr. Cuomo’s proposal would make fishing licenses good for a year from the time they are purchased.

“That’s a big change,” Mr. Yager said.

He said it would substantially clarify the licensing process in New York.

Mr. Cuomo noted in a news release that sporting activities like hunting and fishing draw in roughly $8.1 billion for the state. According to the release, there were roughly 1.88 million fishing licenses issued in the state in 2011 alone and 823,000 hunting licenses.

Mrs. Bouchard didn’t have data for the potential impact of Mr. Cuomo’s proposals on the region, but said, “The economic impact on St. Lawrence County this August for the Bassmaster Elite Tournament [in Waddington] is projected to generate $2 million in tourism. Reducing the cost of the licenses will definitely draw in sportsmen and women who previously couldn’t afford the license packages.”

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